Updated January 16, 2018 06:24:16With Australia’s growth rate at an all-time high and jobs set to rise at a blistering pace, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is warning of an “unleashed” wave of new technology, skills and jobs.
In a major speech on Thursday, the chief statistician warned that while there is still a long way to go, Australia’s rapid growth is likely to see a surge in the number of high-skill jobs and a boost in the numbers of low-skill workers.
“We are seeing a rise in the total number of skilled and unskilled jobs,” Chief Statistician David Kalisch said.
“And there is a significant increase in the amount of high quality skilled and low quality unskilled employment.”
The rise in low-skilled jobs is likely due to the arrival of more foreign workers to the country, with more Australians expected to move abroad, as the country expands its trade ties with Asia.
The Chief Statist said that the new arrivals were creating new skills, and the rise in skilled jobs is expected to help increase productivity.
But he said that while some of the new immigrants were able to learn more about Australian labour markets, there was still a significant mismatch between the skills required and the available jobs.
“There are still many gaps between the amount and skill that these new immigrants can and should learn and the skills that the Australian workforce can and will be able to offer,” Kalisch told reporters.
“So it will be a challenge for the government to get these new skills to the labour market.”
Australia’s labour market is still relatively weak, and Kalisch noted that the Government was also facing a significant number of challenges with the rollout of the Federal Government’s childcare policy.
“While it is very difficult to get more children into childcare, it is more challenging to get them into the workforce in Australia,” he said.
The Government is also facing criticism over its policy of encouraging more Australians to become skilled in a highly competitive Australian workforce.
“There’s no doubt that there are some things that Australia’s skilled and educated workforce can do and there’s no question that we can do better, but the reality is that we’re not making as many of these people,” he added.
“The government is clearly going in the wrong direction in this direction, in terms of how we encourage them to work.”
But Mr Kalisch warned that the future of the Australian economy could depend on how many of the workforce’s skills are retained.
“I don’t think it’s a question of whether we retain those skills, but I think it is a question about whether they can be retained, so that they are in a position to make decisions that will be good for the country,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“That’s going to be a difficult question to answer in the long term, but it’s one that the government needs to answer.”
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